Wednesday, December 10, 2014

We are So Smart

Many of you may already know that if you live in Israel you are often told you have to filter your water.  So when we moved in, we had a water filter attached to the water pipe that brings all of the water into our apartment. We are so smart.

And a couple of times a year, for a minimal fee of three million shekel or so (not including tax), a man comes to our apartment, tells me he is going to change the filter, and goes to the lower level where the pipes and stuff are - to do that.  I assume he does it.  That is, I have never followed him to see him actually do it. 

Last year we gave ourselves a treat and bought a water bar. You are wondering what that is.  It is a countertop contraption that is connected to our water supply and has hot and cold water always ready.

Now, we are not just pampering ourselves, no sirree.  Drinking water is extreeeeeeeeemely important here, especially during the 10 month summer. And I do love me some cold water.  So this way we always have fresh, cold water to drink.  We are so smart.

Now. Here we go.  The other day we get a call. This is the water-filter-changer people.  Don't we want a contract on the water bar like we have on the water filter?  Why, of course we do!  We have many millions of shekel just sitting in piles on our floor waiting to be spent on service contracts. After many phone calls, we finally explain that we do want the contract, we negotiate down the originally-inflated-and-ridiculous-price to the price which-is-still-more-than-they-thought-they'd-get ("Ha!  These Americans!  Give them one discount and they love you!  We are so glad they move here!"), and we are good to go.

Now comes the test of everyone's brainpower. Setting the appointment. After another few calls, I speak to someone in English who sets the appointment for Thursday, December 11, when the technai will come and change both filters.  Excellent!  We are so smart.

This morning (Wednesday, December 10) we receive an SMS - "Hi!  The technai is coming today!"

Huh.  OK, so he is coming today instead of tomorrow.  I can deal with that.

At some point he calls and says he's 1/2 hour away.  Sure enough, 1/2 hour later he shows up.  This is going so well!!!

He comes to the door with a big smile. This is how the conversation goes:

Technai: "I'm here to change the filter downstairs." 
Me: "And the filter on the water bar too!"
Technai: "What water bar?"
Me: "You were supposed to be changing two things."
Technai: "No, look, here on this sheet, it has only one item.  But I'll call them and check."

After he changes the one filter, he returns to tell me that someone will come to do the water bar tomorrow.

An hour later I get a call from the company.  It goes like this:

Co.: "I'm calling to set up a time to change the filter on your water bar."
Me: "I thought you were coming tomorrow."
Co: "Tomorrow?  Well, maybe in the morning..."
Me: "But I already had an appointment for the afternoon.  I won't be here in the morning"
Co.: "But you have to be there because that is when the technai can come."
Me: "But I won't be here."
Co.: "Really?"
Me: "Yes, but how about next week?"
Me: "Yes, it's fine. Please make it for Tuesday."
Co.:  "Tuesday? You really want to wait that long?"
Me: "Yes, it'll be fine."
Co.:  "OK......"

So I'll let you know if we come down with dengue fever from drinking water that has been cleaned by a filter that should have been changed today but won't be changed until NEXT TUESDAY.

In the meantime, I have a headache. I'll take my aspirin with juice.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Head Totally and Completely in the Sand

Wow, what a country.  The entire government of Israel has fired itself.

That's it, guys!  This is not working out, we can't agree, so let's fire ourselves and try again to keep our own parties in power!  In the meantime, we sure are glad that the country is safe and stable because no one is home to fix anything! Wheee!

Seriously, though, I am the last person you want to ask about Israeli politics.  Truthfully - I never understood politics, I find it boring, and I hate reading about it, hearing about it, and talking about it. And thinking about it. 

Why? Because it's basically total fabrications.  While we think the conversation goes like this:

  • Politician #1: What can we do to help the citizens?
  • Politician #2: We can try to work together, even though we have different views, and find a solution to help people!

It probably goes more like this:

  • Politician #1:  New car?  It's cool!
  • Politician #2: Thanks!  Let's get coffee!

It's all about backroom deals and money anyway, so nothing you read or hear is ever real.  And the media is biased, so that's a double whammy - fake news and biased reporting.  Seriously, folks.

Therefore, I have a policy never to read the paper or watch the news. And when people at the Shabbat table start talking politics, I have perfected the interested face, wise head nod, etc., while thinking, "Hmmm, that cholent sure is good, I wonder what she puts in it?"

My husband is a news devourer who actually understands Israeli politics and is brilliant and knows Israeli history cold. [Now, I know what you're thinking and you're right - why he married me I'll never know. My favorite mass media is, um, less intellectual - e.g., reruns of "I Love Lucy."]

Anyway, he was fretting over Israeli politics and spoke to our Rav, an 8th generation Jerusalemite, who responded to him, "It goes in phases, things are actually getting much better, don't worry!" 

I like that so I adopted that as my mantra.  And, wonder of wonders, my husband decided to stop reading the paper. [Note to readers - this was something which I advised him to do years ago, but which someone with apparently way more influence - and this does not take much - told him to do two weeks ago.]

So now he is joining me in ignoring the media, but while I maintain this approach steadfastly, I doubt he'll last another week.  Guy loves to read and think and discuss.  Sheesh.

So if you want to discuss something meaningful, like which meat is the best in cholent, I'm here for you.

If you want to discuss politics, go for it.  But I promise you that the cholent discussion will have more meaning.